Area: 3,323.6 sq. km.
Ha Noi means "the hinterland between the rivers" (Ha: river, Noi: interior). Ha Noi's territory is washed by the Red River (the portion of the Red River embracing Ha Noi is approximately 40km long) and its tributaries, but there are some other rivers flowing through the capital, including Duong, Cau, Ca Lo, Day, Nhue, Tich, To Lich and Kim Nguu.
Climate: Ha Noi is situated in a tropical monsoon zone with two main seasons. During the dry season, which lasts from October to April, it is cold and there is very little rainfall, except from January to March, when the weather is still cold but there is some light rain. The wet season, from May to September, is hot with heavy rains and storms. The average annual temperature is 23.2°C (73.7°F) and the average annual rainfall is 1,800mm. The average temperature in winter is 17.2°C (62.9°F), but can go down to 8°C (46.4°F). The average temperature in summer is 29.2°F (84.6°F), but can reach up to 39°C (102.2°F).
Ha Noi also characteristically contains 18 beautiful lakes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, and Truc Bach Lake..., which are the lungs of the city, with their surrounding gardens and trees providing a vital source of energy.
By train: Ha Noi Railway Station is Viet Nam's main railway station. It is the starting point of five railway lines leading to almost every province in Viet Nam.
worthy a center of politics, economy, culture and tourism of Vietnam – one of the most interesting and safe destinations of foreign tourists to Vietnam.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Not many cities can boast a big lake in their geographical heart, much less one attractively fringed with the drooping foliage of ancient trees. The three-tiered Tortoise Tower in the middle of the lake and the Den Ngoc Son Temple, accessible by a bright-red arched footbridge, give the lake a distinctive character.
Perfect for a spontaneous stroll, the Old Quarter is a maze of narrow streets that is a hive of activity, with everything on sale from traditional medicines to funeral plaques. This is Hanoi’s historic heart, and a favourite spot for tourists to stay because of its vibrant feel. More details on the Old Quarter.
Temple of Literature
A visit to Vietnam’s oldest educational establishment, dedicated to Confucius, is a must for anyone eager to immerse themselves in this city’s impressive history. It’s worth paying attention to the exquisite architecture, and hanging around for a music performance on traditional instruments. More on Hanoi culture.
Hanoi is all about history and culture, and the best place to soak it up is at the city’s many museums. Don’t miss the History Museum, which helps to make sense of the country’s turbulent past, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, full of unexpected and surreal exhibits, or the Museum of Ethnology, where you can learn about the country’s 54 minority groups. More on Hanoi museums.
In contrast to the crowded streets and cramped shophouses of the Old Quarter, the French Quarter is all wide, tree-lined boulevards and colonial mansions tucked away behind tall hedges. Great for a ride in a cyclo to look at sights like the Opera House.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The importance of a visit to Uncle Ho isn’t to admire the architecture of this severe Soviet-style building. It’s to witness the raw emotion on the faces of the Vietnamese who line up to walk past the preserved image of the country’s greatest hero.
Pho, a typical dish of Hanoi people, has been existing for a long time. Pho is prepared not only in a sophisticated manner but also in the technique which is required to have sweet but pure bouillon, soft but not crusaded noodle, soft and sweet smelling meat. Only in cold days, having a hot and sweet smelling bowl of Pho to enjoy would make you experience the complete flavor of the special dish of Hanoi.
1. Boil 10 cups water. Burn the whole fresh onions over high heat until golden brown. Add beef spareribs or ox tail into the boiling water. Skim while cooking to make a clear broth. Add browned onion and carrots after 1 hour of boiling. Cook another hour. Then remove meat and vegetable. Strain the bouillon, season it with spices, salt, fish sauce as indicated and keep boiling to server very hot soup. Add boiled water, if necessary, to have 6-8 cups of bouillon. This broth is very spicy and a little salty.
2. Slice tender beef finely and cooked beef coarsely. Soak dry rice noodles in hot water 10 minutes before cooking. Cook rice noodles separately until done (about 10-15 minutes), drain in hot water to remove the starch.
3. Server at once into bowl
4. Beef soup, rare: cooked rice noodles 1/3 bowl, raw beef minced on top. Pour over them one cup boiling bouillon. Add bib lettuce, green onion and onion rings.
5. Beef soup, done: cooked rice noodles, cooked beef, bib lettuce, onion rings, green onion in top. Pour over all ingredients 1 cup boiling bouillon.
6. Provide the guests with spoons and chopsticks to take the soup.
The cake is a rice ball made of glutinous rice mixed with cudweed (khuc) - most important ingredient and filled with green bean paste, pork, and spices.
Cudweed grows during lunar January and February, when the drizzling rain lasts all day, and it can be found along the edges of rice fields. There are two kinds: “nep” and “te”. The latter is more flexible and fragrant and is preferred for making the cake.
First, the cudweed is washed, ground and then mixed with husked glutinous rice. Green beans, that are flayed and turned into paste after being cooked, are then added to the mixture. Finally, the cakes are sprinkled with grains of glutinous steamed rice.
As time goes by it is increasingly difficult to find cudweed as fields are eaten up by development. For now, you still can find in Hanoi. However, some bakers may not be using cudweed and may substitute it with cabbage or water morning glory.
Wishing to have the chance to satisfy your hunger for, you can visit cake stall at that has been churning out for years. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan, the seller, has to hire locals in rural areas in Hanoi or in neighboring provinces to seek out the elusive cudweed. In winter, it grows in abundance so enough has to be collected to last the summer. The surplus will be dried and stored.
If you are in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, you might hear someone cry . You can stop them and ask if the is from Ngoai Hoang village in Hanoi, a place that is famous for having the most delicious and tasty . Then, you can buy one for tasting. The cake should be served hot and dipped into a mixture of roasted and crushed sesame seeds and salt...
Hanoi now has several stores selling Cha ca La Vong, but none of them can be equal to the Cha Ca Road’s in terms of quality and flavor. As a popular dish, La Vong grilled fish pie is indeed a remarkable culinary invention.
In ancient days, there was a street selling paints, called the Paints Street. The Doan family, located at house No, 14 of this street, hit upon a new idea that sold fried fish pie served with soft noodles and seasoning. Encouraged by the appreciation of customers, the family specialized in this trade and the shop was called as "Cha ca La Vong store" as a wooden statue of an old fisherman (La Vong) holding a fishing rod and a string of fish stands at the door. As the specialty grew famous with every passing day, the street was renamed by the people as Cha Ca Street (fried fish pie street).
Now, this is the time for picking and choosing what you like from the dishes on the table; sticking them into your bowl. Everything in all dishes should be eaten together. Let’s taste…
“Ô mai” is produced for traditional method, since chosing material, the company also send staff to gardens in Hung Yen, Hai Hung, , in order to gather all crop of kinds of sour fresh fruit like plum, apricot, dracontomelum, star, tamarind, kumquat, pineaple, canari, lemon. That is the secret of Hang Duong experts, they plus sugar, ginger, add chilli, stir liquorice to have smooth yellow food with sweet-smelling.
This product is for instant all year and you can enjoy with a pot of tea and a few friends to chat. This is also valuable present from Hanoi people giving to their friends.
If you would like to make dried apricot, you can use the following recipe and you can make the perfect nosh. First, you soak the apricots in water to cover overnight. Then, place them to cook in the same water. Cook until tender. Mash them or chop in blender. After that, peel, core, and cut the pineapple into small pieces. Cover with water and cook until tender. Measure the fruits and juices. Last, place equal amounts of sugar with the measured fruits into a heavy kettle and cook slowly until thick and clear.
Coffe in Hanoi may be considers as the most favorite drinks of not only Hanoians but also of those who have chance to visit this city. Sai Gon has coffee on high floor, and underground, etc., whereas Hanoi has street coffee and traditional cafeteria. The competition between Trung Nguyen coffee system, modern Cappuccino coffee and traditional coffee is still equal. This reveals that the Hanoians retain some uniqueness of their ancient lifestyle.Hanoi’s coffee culture calls on coffee addicts from every corner of the globe!
The Hanoians drink a lot of the dark, caffeinated beverage and prefer sipping their stronger blends outside in front of a small shop with some sweet milk and a spoonful of sugar. Every morning, on hot days of summer and cold and dull days of winter, you can easily see some here with a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
For many Hanoians, the most important factor of a café is not its luxuriousness but the quality of the product. Old people love cafés which have been around a long time, located on old streets or inside deep alleys. Office workers like cafes with romantic and quiet styles like those in Pho Co Quarter. Young people prefer the noisy and busy atmosphere of modern and luxury or pavement cafés.
Soaking up the rhythms of the street and embracing Hanoi from all of its sides, from old to new ones, and from traditional to modern & quirky ones, you will tenderly recognize that, nothing can be better refresh us after hardworking hours than a cup of coffee on a street near Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake).
Basking with sunshine in the afternoon when there’s less noise from automobiles, Hanoi ends a day and opens a new paradise for culture experiences. Taking over a legacy from bygone years with the involvement of an irresistible French factor, the Vietnamese have embraced café culture in a great way. There are so many famous coffee shops in Hanoi, like Nang café (6 Hang Bac), Nhan (39D1 Hang Hanh), Quat (Quan Thanh), Quynh (Bat Dan) to Giang (Hang Gai and Lam (60, 91 Nguyen Huu Huan)… Chairs are small, literally child-sized, and are sometimes made of blue plastic or painted wood. The tables are covered with glasses of (black coffee) or (iced coffee), which come with their own picturesque drip top. Not only just for connoisseurs, these places are idea for having gossip, meeting old friends, talking to pass time of day, stealing precious moments for romantics …
A good example of the authentic cafés is , an atmospheric slender street veering off the city’s central . In the afternoon, one may find himself inexplicably drawn to its’ wall-to-wall cafés which unfold below the shady boughs of leafy trees. Here, the annoying young and cool Vietnamese often sit and watch the world in front of their eyes. In late afternoon, with the last rays of sunshine, the place starts to buzz. At weekends, it is positively heaving with dating couples or gangs of youths desiring to be couples.
If this sounds too frenetic, a more subdued place like can be chosen! Though situated in a busy tourist shopping street, the tiny confined attracts the serious permanent coffee lovers and soccer addicts.
My next stop is Lam café - the perfect refuge for artists, poets and thespians to refresh their minds for creativenessSituated on a shaded street, it will bring you the relaxed moments by the simple but artistically-decorated bamboo furniture, colorful framed oil paintings on the wall, ceiling fans as well as wooden table with a lot of tiny china teapots.
Yet, if you ask me about my favorite one, I will not hesitate to answer that it is . Down in a quiet side street, this unassuming cafes’ entrance is marked by a simple red lantern and ornate ironwork doors. Stepping inside, you not only see the bamboo furniture on tiled floor but also the tiny plants adorn wooden shuttered windows. Looking on damp-streaked walls, you may surprise with wooden arrows and trumpets, farming implements and ancient hunting pistols. Breathing the cool air from the antiquated table-fan, wallowing in soft French background music, you will desire to stay longer...
The resurgence of tourism to these fragrant shores has led to the resurrection of the wonderful old ambience of former colonial times in many cafés. Delightful cafés are now housed in elegant French-style villas with exquisite silk prints, meticulously polished wooden floors and pot-planted courtyards or serve delicious food all day and evening. Street cafés like the La Terrasse du Metropole on Ngo Quyen and Le Phung Hieu or Highlands Café, 84 Nguyen Du are the typical examples!
The nightlife in Hanoi is an active nightlife generally divided in to two subcategories. There are the quieter bars which are generally enjoyed by a slightly older and mellower crowd...
The nightlife in Hanoi is an active nightlife generally divided in to two subcategories. There are the quieter bars which are generally enjoyed by a slightly older and mellower crowd. There may be live entertainment at these bars but it is generally played at a level which allows for conversation in the bar. The other side of the nightlife is made up of the bustling clubs of the area, clubs which have at least one dance floor and DJ-based music or live bands playing so loud that dancing takes the place of conversation.
For those interested in the quieter bars, whether for the entire evening or just for starting out the night, the top pick is the Funky Monkey, which is active enough to draw in an all ages crowd all throughout the night but quiet enough to allow visitors to mingle with locals. Other popular bars in Hanoi include Minh's Jazz Club, Da Gino, Emperor Pub and the Met. For those in the TayHo area try Daluva Wine and Tapas Bar which is modern and has great food all day as well, they also serve spirits and beer. Mostly Expat's at Daluva but a lot of fun !
For those travelers interested in the more active nightlife, the top pick is Apocalypse Now. During weekdays, visitors can play free games of pool, but on weekend nights, all that takes place here is dancing, dancing, and more dancing. This is a late night place where time can get lost because there are no windows here and the setting is designed to recreate the feel of the old bunkers of the Vietnam War. It may not sound attractive, but this is the place where all of the trendier visitors generally go. Other top club picks include Club Q and the Spark Club.
Hanoi bars and pubs guide
Ø Grab a stool and a Beer Hoi
A couple of decades ago you wouldn’t have found a bar worth hanging out in around Hanoi as nobody had any money to spend. How times change. Though Hanoi’s nightlife is still not as lively as that of Ho Chi Minh City or Bangkok, there is an increasing number of places that offer a decent range of beers, wines and spirits and a cozy atmosphere
As with eating, the Old Quarter is the best hunting ground for bars, and as places are opening and closing all the time, it’s worth taking a spontaneous stroll and dropping by anywhere that looks appealing. Below we list the best places to down a few glasses and meet fellow travelers.
One aspect of Hanoi life that you should not miss out on are the bia hoi bars, which are no-frills shophouses that serve locally-made draught beer to customers sitting on tiny stools around tiny tables. The easiest spot to head for in the Old Quarter is at the junction of Ta Hian and Luong Ngoc Quyen, where all four corner stores serve the stuff. At less than 20 cents a glass, you could keep ordering up all night, and you’re unlikely to get legless as the alcohol content is very low.
All socializing should stop by midnight in Hanoi, and police are often out at the witching hour making sure the bars close punctually. After that, if you want to continue carousing, you’ll need to fork out for an expensive drink in one of the hotel bars, or splash out a cover fee to enter a hotel disco.
Ø Recommended Hanoi bars and pubs
Funky Buddha: One of Hanoi’s hippest hang-outs, offering a dim-lit atmosphere and reasonably-priced drinks. 2 Ha Tien, (04) 3292 7614.
Cheeky Quarter: A welcoming vibe at this place with contemporary music and table football for fun. 1 Ta Hien, (090 403 2829).
Dragonfly: a hip venue featuring different events each night, such as Cuban nights on Tuesday and Laid-back nights on Sunday. 15 Hang Buom.
Green Mango: One of Hanoi’s best restaurants also has a cool lounge bar on the first floor. 18 Hang Quat, (04) 3928 9916.
Le Pub: Great location near Hoan Kiem Lake, good range of drinks and an extensive menu of eats as well. 25 Hang Be, (04) 3926 2104.
Red Beer: One for the serious beer drinker; a microbrewery serving up German and Belgian style ale. 97 Ma May.
Mao’s Red Lounge: One of the more popular bars in the Old Quarter for its cheap prices and punchy cocktails. 7 Ta Hien, (04) 3926 3104.
Funky Monkey: This two-floor combination of bar and lounge packs in the punters, especially at happy hour (4-9pm). 31 Hang Thung, (04) 3928 6113.
Hair of the Dog: This place offers a first floor lounge, second floor dancing, a shisha lounge and Sex on the Beach (that’s a cocktail), so get on down there.27 Hang Giay, (090 440 0701).
Minh’s Jazz Club: Great choice of location for an evening out, particularly for jazz lovers. Excellent music, food and booze. 31 Luong Van Can, (04) 3828 7890.
Finnegan’s: Every city seems to have its Irish Pub, and here’s Hanoi’s – the ideal spot to swap travel tales over a Guinness. 16a Duong Thanh, (04) 3828 9065.
Polite Pub: This place looks like a proper English pub, and even features live sports from the UK and elsewhere on TV. 5 Bao Khanh. (04) 3825 0959.
Legends Beer: The big attractions here are the view over Hoan Kiem Lake and the home-brewed beer. 109 Nguyen Tuan, (04) 3557 1277.
Half Man Half Noodle: This place wins the prize for the wackiest bar name, and draws in a regular crowd of expats. 62 Dao Duy Tu, (04) 3926 1943.
I-Box: Plush furnishings and elegant décor make this a neat place to hang out, particularly during happy hour (4-7pm). 32 Le Thai To, (04) 3828 8820.
Inside Bar: This inconspicuous place is one of the best bets for a late beer in Hanoi. 28 Hang Hanh, (090 320 2479).
R & R Tavern: Welcoming bar with draught beer, burgers and live music most nights. 10 Tho Nhuom, (04) 6295 8215.
Roots: Folks have been known to dance to the reggae and salsa sounds spun here, and it occasionally overruns the midnight curfew. 2 Luong Ngoc Quyen.
Angelina: Flashy hotel bar with DJs at the weekend and service till 2am nightly.Sofitel Metropole Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, (04) 3826 2618.
The Sportsman: A three-floor bar with live sports on TV, welcoming staff and filling food combos. 16 Tran Vu.
Shopping for handicrafts in Hanoi Vietnam
It’s easy to find mementoes of Hanoi to take back home both for yourself and as gifts for friends. And with prices ranging from less than a dollar to several thousand, everyone can find something to suit their pocket. You don’t have to hunt hard to find them either, as the biggest concentration of souvenir shops is in the Old Quarter, the most popular part of town for eating, sleeping and sightseeing.
One of the most popular items is the conical hat, worn by Vietnamese to shield them from the fierce sun outside but more likely to end up as a lampshade in a Western home. These are often beautifully made, and often cost less than a dollar, but you’ll need to pack it carefully (or wear it) to avoid it getting crushed in your luggage on the trip home.
Another unique souvenir is a water puppet. These quaint carvings of farmers, warriors and dancing maidens come complete with moveable limbs and in a variety of sizes. They make colourful ornaments for a living room and for most bring back happy memories of watching the puppets perform on a watery stage.
Several musical instruments are unique, such as the dan bau, a single-stringed instrument mounted on to a sounding box that produces a sound uncannily like the human voice. Such souvenirs are expensive and delicate, however, so you need to think carefully before buying one. At the other extreme, there are lots of small, ingenious instruments like local versions of a jew’s harp and castanets, that cost just a few cents.
Textiles and fabrics, particularly silk, are of high quality and with prices much cheaper than in the West, it’s tempting to buy some cloth for a suit or dress to be tailor-made, either here in Hanoi or back home. Ready-made clothes are also a good buy, particularly T-shirts which come with typical Vietnamese motifs such as the skyline of Ha Long Bay or the ubiquitous image of Ho Chi Minh.
The ao dai is instantly recognizable as the traditional Vietnamese dress that is worn by female staff in reputable organisations throughout the city. You can get one tailor-made for around $20-40, and the choice of colours and patterns is staggering. However, while this tight-fitting outfit flatters the slender Vietnamese, it doesn’t always do the same for the fuller Western figure.
Since Vietnam is famous in Western eyes for the war with the USA, many visitors hope to pick up a memento of that dramatic era, be it a dog tag, a Zippo lighter or a bullet casing. You may spot such items on sale in souvenir shops in the city, but you can also be sure that these are imitations, created to supply the demand for war memorabilia. Other unusual souvenirs are propaganda posters and buttons and badges of the Communist Party.
Recommended Hanoi shopping malls
Trang Tien Plaza: Covering around 20,000 square metres at 24 Hai Ba Trung, just near Hoan Kiem Lake, this six-storey building has been used as a trading centre for around a century, and was designed by French architect Cluade Cuverlier. The building was undergoing renovation in early 2010 but designers say they are eager to maintain the historic feel of the place.
Vincom City Towers: Opened in 2007 at 191 Ba Trieu, off Hai Ba Trung, this shopping centre is much more like what you’d expect to find in the West, and its space is similarly divided between designer fashions, cosmetics, home décor products, electrical appliances, as well as entertainment and eating venues. Prices are very steep as you might expect, so it’s only worth shopping here if you’re after something you can’t find elsewhere.
Recommended Hanoi markets
Cho Hang Da: located to the west of Hoan Kiem Lake off Hang Ga, this smallish market is also worth taking a look at. It features imported alcohol, ceramics, textiles and ready-made clothes and is often crowded with local shoppers.
Cho Hom: just outside the city centre at the junction of Hue and Tran Xuan Soan Roads, this market specializes in fabrics, though it also sells a dizzying variety of foodstuff and offerings for temples.
Cho Dong Xuan: this is the city’s biggest market and also one of the most convenient to visit as it is located in the Old Quarter, on Dong Xuan. Sprawling over two blocks, it is packed with every type of food you can imagine, but also sells some souvenirs such as conical hats. If you’re looking for fabrics, don’t miss the stalls upstairs where you’ll find an endless range of colours and patterns.
Cho Cua Nam: this place sees few tourists, being located some blocks north of the city’s train station. Yet if you’re in this part of town, it’s worth wandering through to see the bright, scented, tropical flowers on display.
19-12: named after the date of a key battle with the French in 1946, this small market occupies a couple of alleys that connect Hai Ba Trung and Ly Thuong Kiet. It’s limited to fruit and vegetables but is still worth visiting for the lively atmosphere and colourful scenes.
Flower market: located at the junction of Nghi Tam and Yen Phu Roads to the north of the city centre, this wholesale market specializes in flowers of all kinds. However, you’ll need to be a flower fanatic to make the most of it, as it’s at its busiest around 4:00-5:00, long before dawn.
Night market: another convenient market is on Hang Giay in the Old Quarter, where the street is closed to traffic in the evenings. Most stalls sell souvenirs for tourists, though what’s on display is very similar to the stock in local shops.
Worship of Ancestor Custom
Vietnamese believe that the soul of a dead person, even if dead for many generations, still rests along with their descendants on earth. The dead and living persons still have spiritual communion; in everyday life, people must not forget that what they enjoy and how they feel is the same for their dead relatives.
On the last day of every lunar year, an announcing cult, cung tien thuong, is performed to invite the dead forefathers to return home to celebrate Tet holidays with their families. During the last days before Tet, all family members visit their ancestors’ graves; they clean and decorate the graves, in the same manner that the livings clean and decorate their houses to welcome the New Year.
On the anniversary of an ancestor’s death, descendants and relatives unite and prepare a feast to worship the dead people and to ask for health and happiness for themselves. From generation to generation, ancestor worshipping customs have been religiously preserved. There are some small variations between those customs among the many Vietnamese ethnic groups, but the common theme of fidelity and gratitude towards the ancestors remains.
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